Present Tense

What am I missing here??

How do I say this diplomatically?  Oh well, it’s my blog, with my name on it so, here goes.  The more I read and the more I study about major religions, the less inclined I am to call myself a ‘believer’.  Okay, I know; some of you just spit out your coffee.  In fact, I probably just insulted many of you and I’m sorry.  Really.

I wrote about my decision to end my ignorance of religion/spirituality several months ago. I wrote of my desire to embrace religion and that I was going to study with an open mind, with the goal of embracing faith.  I have now completed my own circle; I’m right back where I started.  Faithless.  But, there’s a difference now.  I read the Bible, I read about the Bible, I read about archeological attempts to find some of the locations mentioned in the Bible.

I read numerous Buddhist texts, began meditating, read about Islam and Judism.  I spoke to a lot of people about their beliefs and their faith. I asked a lot of questions of others and of myself.  I still don’t get it.  I tried; I opened my mind and listened and reflected, but belief is a choice that I can’t make.  Maybe I’m not smart enough to embrace faith.  That’s a distinct possibility.  Or maybe I’m too literal or too cynical or too selfish.

The bottom line for me is this:  nobody knows what happens when we die.  Nobody.  Yes, many “believe” in an afterlife.  They have faith that there is more awaiting us after our time on earth.  But, that’s not knowing.  I don’t know what will happen when I die. What I do know is that all of us die and it would appear that since the dawn of time, man has struggled to accept that we all have a limited amount of time on earth and wouldn’t it be great if death isn’t the end.

And then there’s the problem with science and knowledge that can directly refute many religious beliefs.  Now what?  Well, it’s been explained to me that things happened in “God time”, which none of us can really understand.   That’s kind of convenient, isn’t it?  So, it’s back to faith or belief in things that seem for lack of a better word,  unbelievable.

Seriously, I’m not trying to be irreverent.  These are the things that have occurred to me as I dug into religious beliefs.  How can one be so sure about something that is such a huge leap of faith?  I can’t.  I tried.  It seems to me that we’re given our time on earth and for many of us, it’ll average around 70-80 years.  We make choices, good and bad; we live our lives as best we can.  Isn’t that enough?  Why are we so greedy as to demand that our lives never end?  Why do we insist on believing in something that we can never know?  I realize that religions give us rules and ethics and teach us compassion, but in the 21st century, don’t we already know those things?

Think about this:  most major religions were born in a time of extreme barbarism and ignorance.  People actually believed that natural disasters were the work of some god or goddess or demon that was angry with the humans.  By the same token, they believed that some sort of offering or sacrifice would ensure a good hunt or better crops.  We know better now, don’t we?  Probably not; as humans we struggle to explain the unexplainable.  We struggle to love our fellow man.  We struggle to nurture the better parts of our humanity.  Seems like the Golden Rule is a pretty good place to start.

July 9, 2010 Posted by | Musings | 12 Comments


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